Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Head of US Covid-19 response team and Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were among the health experts who testified on Tuesday before a House Committee on the Coronavirus response of Donald Trump’s administration.
During the hearing, Dr. Redfield reported that in US more than 7000 nursing homes have Covid patients admitted. The nursing homes have been the worst effected of the coronavirus infection spread. Redfield commented that the coronavirus has “brought the country on its knees”. He said during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing “We’ve all done the best that we can do to tackle this virus.”
Dr. Redfield highlighted that the country could end up spending close to $7 trillion to control the Covid-19 pandemic. He also mentioned that this virus has highlighted the years of underfunding in health department in the country which is showcased by the under working of “core capabilities of public health”. He stressed on the importance of a well structured public health system at the local level.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said that it is mandatory to wear masks, with no ‘exceptions’ at all the universities and educational institutes. However, regarding reopening of the schools and colleges, he said that “no one size fits all”. He said “If you have very, very few cases like in a small college in a county, I think you can be really very liberal in the opening.” Fauci also stressed on the importance of the caregivers in schools and staff in colleges regarding infection spread.
Operation Warp Speed
Dr. Anthony Fauci said that when he heard the name “Operation Warp Speed” given by the Trump’s administration to the coronavirus vaccine project, he “flinched a little.” He elaborated that the name sounded “reckless” to him and that worried him. “I think there was some good intentions about using the ‘Warp Speed’, but I myself flinched a little, because I know that people might think its reckless.”
The vaccine manufactures, Fauci said, were taking immense risk while working to bring out a vaccine in an earliest manner.
In the House hearing Dr. Fauci when asked by Rep. Paul Tonko, a New York Democrat that whether he had directly advised or recommended President Trump to wear a mask in public, Dr. Anthony said that he had not “directly recommended” him to wear mask.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he is not in a position to clearly comment on President Trump’s multiple reasons of not wearing a mask. But the fact that he himself wears a mask in public at all times is a clear indication that wearing mask is highly recommended.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he was not consulted with anyone from the administration regarding the decision to hold US funding to World Health Organization.
Fauci clarified that irrespective of the US funding status to WHO, NIA and CDC are in constant collaboration with the WHO, and that himself and Dr. Redfield are in daily talks with WHO officials. However, Dr. Fauci said that he was concerned with the President Trump’s decision on funding.
The key highlights of the House hearing are:
- Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2020 is still a possibility.
- Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield were clear that despite of President’s assertion over reducing the testing, the testing will only increase.
- Dr. Redfield urged the Americans to get the flu shot for next season’s influenza as it is potentially be simultaneously with the Covid-19.
- Dr. Fauci said that recent surge in cases in certain parts of country is worrying. But few states like New York are fairing better now.